Nha Trang was a very popular spot for the GI's fighting in the American War, to spend their leave. They came from the war zone to spend 24, or if they were lucky, 48 hours, getting drunk, high and laid. Thus the establishment of lots of bars and restaurants. But the Americans were defeated, and the Russians moved in with "Aid". Since then, the Russians have treated Nha Trang as their own. Hundreds of Russian tourists arrive everyday, up to four flights a day. Russians own lots of the businesses. Most of the signage is in Vietnamese and Russia. English is the third language, French the fourth language, and many locals are fluent in all four.
Nha Trang is the most sanitised Vietnamese city I have visited. Even the traditional markets are clean and organised. This is fantastic for the tourists, and I'm glad they feel they are seeing the real Vietnam....but they ain't. The beach, is beautiful white sand, with the various hotels supplying recliners and umbrellas, and drinks service. There is still room for us cheaper people to take in the sand, and sun. Unfortunately, the days we have been here, the surf has been thumping into the beach. Even Ju, who would normally be in the tide for hours, has only had one quick dip. We have watched others been smashed by the waves. There are signs up advising not to enter the sea, but many ignore them. And Ju not getting to play, is a real pity, because, now it will not substitute for the "Pacific Island" holiday she keeps harping on about.
What we have had, is a wonderful restful few days, sleeping, reading, sitting on the beach, and eating...Western food. Ju has been shopping. We spent several hours in the sanitised market, and she even bought a few things. We even watched a few movies on TV.
We have stayed at a lovely hotel, reasonably priced, and been spoilt by the staff, The Perfume Grass Inn, which has an arrangement with the Kirin Restaurant over the road for breakfast. Luxury, compared with where I've been staying over the last few months. ( except for my stay with Derek in Bangkok which was blissful)
Best of all, I have spent every minute, of every day, with the woman I love. It is going to be very very hard saying goodbye to her tonight. It's going to be a lot easier to get on my bike and ride 700 km over the next week to Laos.
CYCLING WITH GRUM (by Ju)
I feel intimidated writing on Grum's blog, cos he writes so well. Now I know how you felt Graham Allen.... Now after a few days in Nha Trang, the cycling we've done seems quite distant, but we managed to wind our way 700+km from Ho Chi Minh City to here - and it was awesome!
It has been really insightful to experience what Grum has been doing since I last saw him. SE Asia is a far cry from Western Australia. So many different experiences and challenges every day.
For Grum it's usually finding something he can eat for breakfast, not always easy. Keeping hydrated in the heat means lots of lovely stops for sugar cane juice or the like. He wasn't so keen on me having the Vietnamese coffee (so good!) as I would get a big caffeine rush and zoom off.
For me, the money with soo many zeros took a bit of getting used to. Out in the country, many friendly 'Hello's' from young and old who seemed genuinely pleased to see us. Some days were hot and tough - rough roads with no end in sight, the map not matching up at all to where we are.... How many times can I put on sunscreen in one dayI All that made the cold beer at the end of the day taste divine! I can't imagine doing all that by myself, for me it's so much better to experience those things with someone else. Makes me admire you even more Grum.
Tonight I catch the overnight train back to HCM City. Our next catch up is planned to be in Kathmandu around May - not so long : ) Grum is always happy to have someone to ride with (and waited patiently for me a lot). So do it, you'll absolutely love it!